Wednesday, October 17, 2018

No protection for farm animals

The Animal Welfare Act is aimed at protecting confined animals, such as those living in laboratories or zoos. However, there are a vast number of animals it does not protect: those living on industrial farms. And there are a heck of a lot of them; there can be millions on a single farm. The Animal Welfare Institute has just published the results of a study of barn fires from 2013 to 2017. Their report concluded that more than 2.7 million US farm animals perished in potentially preventable barn fires in that period. 326 barn fires killed at least 2,763,924 farm animals, of which chickens represented 95 percent of all farm animals who died in barn fires. 

The main cause (or suspected cause) of barn fires was malfunctioning or misused heating devices, accounting for nearly half of all barn fires. Barn fires happened most often in the Upper Midwest and Northeast. The five states with the highest number of barn fires were New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Should we worry?

A serious problem created by climate change

An article by scientists from China, US and England in "Nature Plants" predicts a major loss in the amount of beer, the most popular alcoholic beverage in the world,  available due to climate change. That's because the supply of its main ingredient, barley, will decline sharply in periods of extreme drought and heat. They predict yield losses from 3% to 17% depending on the severity of the conditions. That will mean less beer available to drink; for example, 32% less in Argentina. And it will cost more; for example, a doubling in beer prices in Ireland. 

Should you start stocking up?

An odd sentence

A former prominent neurological researcher at Yale and NYU was convicted of stealing $87,000 from NYU and various grant programs from 2012 to 2014. Although he was making $200,000 a year, I guess that wasn't enough for his flights, hotel rooms and dinners for himself, his family and others. The judge's sentence: he must play piano an hour at least twice weekly for the next three years at group facilities in Bridgeport, New Haven, Hartford, and Waterbury.

Did he or didn't he offer to donate $1,000,000 to charity

Today's Boston Globe published the results of Warren's DNA test. Read the full story here.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Stop the talk and act

College student/athletes

The fact is that if the sport is football or basketball played at the Division 1 level there is no time to be a student, at least if you are African/American. 

Studies show that black Division I football and men’s basketball players spend three times as many hours per week on athletics as they do on academics. On average, the players spend more than 25 hours on sports-related activities other than games, such as practice, workouts, general team meetings, film sessions and travel. On the other hand, the players spend less than eight hours on academics outside of class, such as writing papers, studying, getting tutored or working on group projects.  Most football and men’s basketball players underperform academically and routinely graduate at lower rates than “other student-athletes, black non-athletes and undergraduates in general.”

What is the payoff as less than 2 percent of college football players get into the NFL, and only 1.2 percent of college basketball players get drafted into the NBA. 

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

A risky profession

Forty-eight journalists have been killed so far in 2018; four of them in Europe. Viktoria Marinova of Bulgraia is the latest. Maltese investigative journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia, was killed by a car bomb in October. Slovakian investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his girlfriend were shot to death in February. Swedish freelance journalist Kim Wall was killed and mutilated last year by a Danish inventor. 

And we have the case of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian journalist for the Washington Post, who may have been killed while visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week. 

Monday, October 08, 2018

Reducing climate change

The previous post in video

I'm glad I'm old and won't be here for 2040

2040 is when we will be really up the creek, according to a report issued on Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations to guide world leaders. The report was written and edited by 91 scientists from 40 countries who analyzed more than 6,000 scientific studies and describes a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040.

The report predicts that the atmosphere will warm up by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) above preindustrial levels by 2040, resulting in damaging coastlines and intensifying droughts and poverty.  We can prevent this temperature increase by reducing greenhouse pollution  by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, and 100 percent by 2050.  Coal is the preeminent problem; the scientists think we should stop using it. We have to increase renewable energy from today's 20 percent of the electricity mix to as much as 67 percent.

Health Costs Today

From Kaiser Family Foundation

Maybe you should have been a barber

Anthony Mancinelli is the oldest barber in the world, according to Guinness. He is 107 years old and has been cutting hair since 1922, when he was 11 years-old and Warren Harding was president. He cuts hair five days a week from noon to 8 p.m., that's 40 hours a week. He has all his teeth and is on no daily medication. He has never needed glasses, has all his hair, and his hairstyling hands are still steady.

He has always worked hard, has never smoked or drank heavily. He drives to work, cooks his own meals and trims the bushes in his front yard with no help.

Trump is good for the country